Laborers bring holiday cheer to hundreds of veterans across region


LENDING A HELPING HAND to distribute more than 300 Christmas trees to veterans in early December as part of the Kaufman Fund’s Trees for Vets annual effort were Local 42 members (from left) Union Representative Simon Glaus, Local 42 Veterans Committee members Darryle Boyle and Frank Lewis, Kaufman Fund volunteer Al Finkelstein and Local 42 Vice President and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Matt Andrews. Laborers Locals 42, 110 and 660 and the Missouri Laborers Employees and Education Trust together donated $10,000 for the effort. – Kaufman Fund photo

Much of the Christmas cheer for our distinguished military veterans this past holiday season was the result of St. Louis Laborers unions donating to the annual Trees For Vets program, sponsored by The Kaufman Fund, a non-profit that helps veterans in need with life’s basic needs including food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.

The Missouri/Kansas Laborers District Council, one of the Tree program’s major sponsors – along with Laborers Locals 42, 110 and 660 and the Missouri Laborers Employees and Education Trust – donated $10,000 for the December program. Over the past 10 years, The Kaufman Fund has given more than 2,500 trees to veterans to ensure they have a joyful holiday season.

“Our locals and members are proud to be able to step up for a great cause that all of us can be proud of,” said Local 42 Vice President Matt Andrews, chairman of Local 42’s Veterans Committee, who is a U.S. Marine Corps. veteran and member of the Laborers Midwest Region Vets Steering Committee. “And certainly no one deserves it more than our veterans. It’s one of the many charitable efforts our locals proudly support.”

HONORED as a representative for veterans is Local 42 member and veteran Zachery Hurt (second from left) with Local 42 Vice President and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Matt Andrews (left) and The Kaufman Fund volunteer Al Finkelstein. The sign recognizes the many groups who help finance the Fund. – Kaufman Fund photo

Local 42 member and veteran Zachery Hurt was recognized along with veterans from other organizations for their service.

As vets came to collect their trees in December, Santa Claus was on hand to provide the veterans’ children with backpacks full of school supplies, children’s toys and food. In addition, each vet received a $50 On the Run gas card from the Wallis Companies and a $25 food gift certificate for a Butterball turkey or other food needs, making it a truly joyful event. A number of local companies were also on hand to provide goodie bags  that contained a host of products and information on other services available for vets.

The Kaufman Fund honors Air Force veteran Ralph Kaufman, and was founded in 1990 by his brother Wayne Kaufman, an Army veteran.

The Fund also provides any veteran with food and referrals for legal, dental, mental health and chiropractic services not covered under Veterans Administration (VA) programs. The Fund also provides winter coats, hats and gloves and makes grants to other veteran organizations for special needs.

For more information about The Kaufman Fund go to


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